How Europe’s football is booming – and where Austria depends on everyone
The 2022/23 season brought record numbers for European club football – and unusually turbulent times for coaches. Facts and figures from the UEFA report from fans about transfers up to stoppage time.
Coach changes, playing time, fans: the new UEFA report also offers exciting figures.
imago images/picture alliance
Europe’s club football is booming – even stronger than before the outbreak of the corona pandemic in spring 2019. A total of 209 million spectators attended the games in all European leagues in the 2022/23 season, and transfer spending has also exploded. This emerges from the UEFA report “European Club Talent and Competitions Landscape”, which will be published this Thursday. The most important things at a glance:
Stadium visitors: The 209 million stadium visitors resulted primarily from the games in the top leagues (109 million, four percent more than in the previous record season 2018/19). At least 68 million spectators were in the stadiums in lower divisions, 13 million attended cup games, 16 million were there for the three European club competitions, and at least three million watched women’s club football. Most spectators (45 million) flocked to the stadiums in England.
Viewership numbers for the 2022/23 Women’s Champions League season rose rapidly. In the first season of the new 2021/22 cycle, there were 587,930 spectators, 145 percent more than in the previous record year 2016/17. In the past season the number grew by a further 29 percent to 759,353.
Hardly any young players moved to Turkey and Saudi Arabia
Transfers: Record transfer investments were made this summer. Saudi Arabian clubs are the second largest source of net investment next to English Premier League clubs. European clubs spent a total of 7.2 billion euros on transfers in the summer of 2023, exceeding the previous record by three percent (summer 2019) and the summer of 2022 by 24 percent. On the last five days of the transfer period alone, transfer fees amounting to 1.1 billion euros were paid.
More than half of European clubs’ transfer payments were invested in players under the age of 23. In stark contrast, Turkey has only twelve percent of transfer spending in this age range. Saudi Arabian clubs only paid five percent of their expenses to sign young players from Europe under the age of 23.
Playing time: In the 2022/23 season, the top leagues had an average playing time of 97.7 minutes; the Turkish SüperLig was over 100 minutes (101.9). The proportion of games lasting more than 100 minutes has increased from 20 percent last season to over 43 percent in the first game weeks of the current 2023/24 season.
Substitutions: In 2022/23, the average number of substitutions increased to 4.3, an increase of 0.1 compared to 2021/22, since all leagues now implement the IFAB allowance of five substitutions.
Of 1,209 head coaches, less than five percent have been in office for five or more years
Talents: If the definition of young players is expanded to include all players under the age of 24, the Austrian league is the youngest with 47 percent of the total playing minutes played by players in this age group. At the other end of the ranking are Greece and Turkey with just 16 percent. On the other hand, players aged 30 or older accounted for 34 percent in Greece and 32 percent in Turkey. In the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway it is only 14 percent.
Trainer: Head coaches at top clubs spent an average of just 1.31 years in their job last season. These tenures were shorter than the previous season and neared their lowest levels in the last decade. Only nine top coaches and twelve second division coaches were in office for ten or more years last season. In fact, of the 1,209 incumbent head coaches, less than five percent have been in office for five or more years.
The report shows that 66 percent of European top division clubs changed their head coach at least once last season. The 735 head coach changes in the top division significantly exceeded the ten-year average of 671 dismissals in the 54 European premier leagues. 26 percent of all new head coaches last season had less than a year of experience in the position.
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